Small Offices and Homes
Many small offices and homes are installing wireless LANs to support mobile access to common Internet applications. Service providers, such as Vonage, are strongly advertising the capability of using the Internet for making phone calls to augment or replace standard PSTN telephones. Home and small-office owners are taking advantage of Internet telephony to save money on long-distance phone calls.
The use of VoWLAN is further extending the benefits of VoIP by providing mobility and even replacing the need for a cellular phone. A consumer is likely to select a VoWLAN solution as compared to wired VoIP service to enable mobility similar to what cordless phones offer. Someone can take the phone around the house and talk while doing house chores.
A single access point can easily support most home and small-office voice applications. Range is sufficient for the entire home, and a single 802.11b or 802.11g access point can support the limited number of phones (generally only one) that will be in use simultaneously. RF interference from microwave ovens and neighboring wireless LANs set to the same channel can cause significant impacts on performance, however. Consumers may have to reconfigure the RF channel of their access point to have effective wireless voice service.
Unfamiliarity with wireless technologies may preclude some consumers from purchasing VoWLAN equipment. In addition, the inability of Internet telephony to operate during power outages and limited operation of 911 services may keep some consumers from moving forward with a wired or wireless VoIP solution. Despite these issues, though, VoWLANs in homes and small offices is expected to proliferate over the next few years.